I came to Colorado in 2013, steeped in idealism and with the notion that my work as an AmeriCorps VISTA would leave a lasting impact. Now more than three years later, as I prepare to leave Reach Out and Read Colorado in pursuit of professional opportunities in my hometown of Pittsburgh, I am happy to say that I have retained my idealism and I have gained the understanding that it isn’t one single person who facilitates meaningful change, but a community.[clickToTweet tweet=”The utility of communal bonds lies in their power—they can come together to change the very fabric of society.’” quote=”‘The utility of communal bonds lies in their power—they can come together to change the very fabric of society.’”]
The utility of communal bonds lies in their power—they can come together to change the very fabric of society. In my time here, I have witnessed the unifying power of community and a collective movement to create opportunity for Colorado children. There are countless acts that stand out as prime examples of what it means to rely on community. I will always remember how each and every act reflected the true spirit of giving, connecting donors, volunteers, providers, and families with a single thread.
When I think of community I think of sitting in a pew at the First Plymouth Congregational Church, watching a provider being moved to tears in speaking to members about why he so strongly believes in the power of our program model. In return, First Plymouth congregants answered that passion by donating thousands of books and thousands of dollars over several years, in service to Denver Metro children. I think back to Ali and Emery, two motivated fourth graders who designed their own campaign to go door to door to collect books on behalf of Reach Out and Read Colorado and generate community awareness, all of their own volition. The idea of community takes me back to a warm home in Trinidad, Colorado where I had the privilege of guiding a couple’s generous gift toward fully-underwriting Las Animas and Huerfano County Health Department programming, spanning eight total sites that were previously unable to provide program access due to lack of funds.
As my tenure concludes, I leave with an enriched understanding of the power of community and its collective impact. I am grateful for every member of the Reach Out and Read Colorado family—too many to mention here—and for the inspiring memories that will always endure. This organization is making a real difference, preparing young children for school and life success, providing a pathway out of poverty that might not otherwise exist. I’m humbled to have been a part of something so meaningful, and I thank you for embracing our mission and sharing our ideals through countless and continued donations of time, money, and books.
Reach Out and Read Colorado’s Winter 2017 Newsletter also featured a complete list of 2016 donors, a letter from the Executive Director, and impact metrics. Read the full story HERE and sign up to recieve our print newsletter twice per year in your mailbox.